Sunday, 15 September 2013

Eugenia Shares Three Key Lessons from her Internship with Innovaid and Mewsic

How does listening to online fans make for a successful social media campaign? 

How do you eat an Elephant? 

Why seek out people smarter than yourself?

Eugenia shares three key lessons she learnt during her time with Innovaid and Mewsic - A Brett Lee Foundation

This summer, I interned at Innovaid Advisory Services, as well as a non-profit that they set up and manage – Brett Lee’s Mewsic India Foundation. It was privilege learning about working in a corporate organization and a non-profit through this arrangement. Here are some thoughts and lessons about my time there :)

Listen. My core area of responsibility was in managing both Innovaid and Mewsic’s social media, on Facebook and Twitter. My personal project was to head an online publicity and fundraising campaign through the sale of limited edition Mewsic t-shirts. I enjoyed this very much as I had the space to experiment with the use of social media. More importantly, I had the opportunity to connect and connect with many Mewsicians (volunteers). This served as a feedback channel to gauge their response to the work we had been doing. The energy from Mewsicians was infectious, and that motivated me to brainstorm innovative ways for engagement.

How to eat an elephant. Setting up and managing foundations sounds like an enormous task at hand, it becomes much easier when you break it down into smaller, more manageable components. Namely, they are governance, human resources, fundraising, programs, marketing, and operations. As I worked on projects and prepared documents for clients, I learnt much about the specific systems in place that were used. On a personal level, this was also a useful tool and reminder for self-leadership and management – after dissection, the big things are less scary, and it’s easier to see what next to be done.

Seek people smarter than yourself. I had the privilege of sitting in the Mewsic Strategic Plan meeting and later, the Advisory Board meeting. In the Strategic Plan meeting, the Mewsic core team gathered to critically look at how Mewsic has been, decide where we want to go, and brainstorm possible pathways. However, there were also many questions that we were not able to resolve satisfactorily on our own. When Emily graciously let me sit in the Advisory Board meeting, I jumped at the chance! It was truly eye-opening, meeting experts in their respective fields who were incisive with their feedback and provided great advice on how Mewsic could be pushed to the next level.

All in all, I had a blast at Innovaid and Mewsic! One month on and back home, I miss India, the chai, but most of all the amazing people I got to meet.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Experiences with Innovaid from a Budding Entrepreneur


Hakeem from Singapore reflects on his time with Innovaid Advisory Services, taking our online strategy to a new level
At Innovaid, I was tasked with implementing measures to help take the company's overall online strategy to a new level. This included a fair bit of dabbling with Search Engine Optimization techniques, playing around with Google Trends, Adwords and also Word Press. The aim, of course, was to set the foundations to boost the online presence for Innovaid's Corporate Social Responsibility on Google. I saw this as a great opportunity to hone my online business development skills. This meant leveraging off the internet, be it social media or not, to increase the number of leads for Innovaid's CSR services. 
The team was a very diverse one comprising of individuals from Italy, Australia and India itself. It was great getting to know them and also about their backgrounds over the lunches that we had. Sharing horror stories about our respective commutes to work was rather common too. 
As an entrepreneur, I feel that the team that you have with you is one of the best assets that you can gain. Thus, ensuring the right kind of people join the team is one of the best things an entrepreneur can do for his company. It was nice of Emily to have shared some of her learnings when it came to hiring the right people. Emily also spoke of people building being one of the key things that you, as the head of the team are tasked with. 
One of the best experiences was that I got the opportunity to talk to the Emily on her past entrepreneurial experiences and upbringing. As it turns out, we both had our first shot at entrepreneurship rather early. She sold cute little magazine things and self-made toys at school and made a relatively huge fortune at that age. Having sold noodles at Secondary 1 and making a fortune from it, I was able to relate to her story well. Our first brush with entrepreneurship, as I found out, was to be an experience both of us would probably never forget. Besides that, gaining insights into the journey that she has been on so far, was rather interesting too. Nothing beats hearing an entrepreneurial experience right from the horse's mouth.
We also got the chance to sit in for two corporate pitches with a multinational corporation. This was really insightful as we were involved in this project from the research stage itself. We got to experience what happened in a corporate to ‘corporate pitch’. The biggest takeaway again, was to really listen to what your client wants. Once you have done that, you'd be in a better position to reconsider your pitch and project only the necessary bits that you feel would maximize your customer's benefit. True to Innovaid being a personalized boutique advisory service for CSR and celebrity philanthropy, we got to experience the customization process during the meetings as well.
In one of my conversations with Emily, we spoke about future plans and expansion and what she had in mind. We also spoke quite a fair bit about branding and the issues of branding for Innovaid as opposed to branding for Emily Harrison. Hearing her talk about such issues and putting myself in her shoes gave me insights into some of the challenges being faced by an entrepreneur at her stage too.

All in all, my 2 months or so at Innovaid was certainly a great experience and a worthwhile journey that I would not have replaced for anything else. Opportunities to grow and challenge yourself at Innovaid are aplenty. The one most outstanding thing that I will always remember is the dynamic team and how each individual brings an exciting set of experiences and a different dimension to the team.